Lobacz out to deliver county title

Ben Lobacz. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Ben Lobacz. Picture: Andrew Griffin
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Ben Lobacz is ready to deliver as he prepares to stamp some authority on this week’s Hampshire Amateur Championship at Blackmoor Golf Club.

The 23-year-old talent from Waterlooville will bid to go one better than last year’s shock run to the final.

But he’s taken the unusual step of quitting his job in the pro shop at Petersfield Golf Club to become a postman as he attempts to eventually realise his ambitions of turning professional.

He said: ‘So much happened last summer with the county championship, getting picked for Hampshire and then being offered a place in the elite squad for this season.

‘I was finishing my shifts in the pro shop at Petersfield and despite all the success I was having playing, I was struggling to knuckle down and get out to practice or play.

‘I quite often wanted to just get home and get away from work.

‘I quickly realised this was a bad place to be and not the way I needed to feel if I was to carry on making progress.

‘I got the chance to become a postman – now I am up at the crack of dawn, do my rounds and am normally finished by early afternoon.

‘I can’t wait to get out on the course straight after work and practice, or play nine or 18 holes.’

Lobacz will also benefit from a bit of local knowledge, having joined Blackmoor last autumn.

And he believes he has learned how to deal with the nerves that he suffered with last year.

He said: ‘It’s a great course and one I really enjoy playing.

‘I have played about 30 to 35 rounds since joining in November.

‘Twelve months ago I would be nervous whenever I was around much better golfers, even though that was what I wanted to be.

‘The Hampshire coach Rob Watts has worked with Darren Clarke and we had a great session before the Surrey match.

‘We broke down my pre-round routine, how I dealt with pressure, using breathing exercises and a couple of other things.

‘I enjoyed the experience so much and the guys made me feel part of the team straight away, I knew it was what I wanted.

‘The change of job and joining Blackmoor is all part of the process of getting better and better as quickly as I can.’

Although Lobacz is now off scratch, he still needed to come through the club’s qualifier to get a start in the Salver with a remarkable standard required to make the 72-strong field.

With 10 players off plus four and more than 20 off plus three, it promises to be a fierce competition for the title with 16 qualifying spots up for grabs in the matchplay phase that Lobacz and fellow Hampshire players Tom Robson and Scott Gregory will be after.

Play gets under way at 8am on Saturday with the final tee times in the second round going off at 3pm. Entry is free for spectators.

And with the Hampshire Hog taking place 24 hours later at North Hants, it will be a big weekend for top level amateur golf in the region.